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Brahmin qualities and vegetarianism

Date: Sun Sep 22 1996 - 00:20:02 PDT

My compliments on Mr. Tatachar's eloquent response to Ashwin Sairam's 
question on the definition of a Brahmin.  I think it is important to 
note that, based on this discusssion, the title of Brahmin should be 
based solely on individual character, and not on birthright. 

I would like to respond the second part of the question by adding 

Lord Krishna in Bhagavadgita defines clearly
the qualities or duties  of a Brahmin as per the 
Gunas born of their own nature are: 
Serenity, self-restraint, austerity, purity, 
forgiveness, uprightness, knowledge, 
realization, belief in a hereafter.
-----------------------------------------end quote

Paraphrasing what I have learned from a recent conversation with Sri 
Tridandi SrimanNarayana Ramanuja Jeear, it is to encourage the very 
cultivation of the above qualities that one should conform to a 
vegetarian diet.  The Lord states in the Geetha that certain foods 
can influence our gunas (a rather philosophical expansion of the 
concept that "you are what you eat.") Conforming to a vegetarian diet 
encourages the cultivation of Sattva Guna, which is the essence of 
what defines the noble Brahmin qualities, and more importantly, 
allows us to realize our true nature as the servants of the servants 
of our Lord.

It is sadly ironic that more and more Westerners are turning towards 
the vegetarian way, for spiritual and health reasons, while many 
Asian Indians are going away from it.  In my own state of Colorado, 
vegetarianism seems to be the "in-thing."  One estimate shows that 3 -
 4% of the state's population conform to the diet to some extent.  I 
find it much easier these days to walk into a restaurant and find 
something on the menu that I can eat.

I commend Mr. Sairam on his efforts.

Daasanu Daasan,